By Assemblymember Marie Waldron
More than 14% of the nation’s agricultural exports come from California. We produce over one third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of our fruits and nuts. Contrary to what many in Northern California may think, much of California’s abundance originates in our region.
Our farms and farmers are unique in many ways. First of all, we have the 2nd highest number of farms in the entire United States with women as the principal operator. According to Julie Walker, Past President of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, current board member and advisor to the Executive Committee, “30% of all San Diego County farms are operated by women.” From vegetables supplied to local restaurants, to growing cut flowers, managing groves and vineyards, women are involved at all levels of local agriculture. California’s 40,000 women farmers have an economic impact of $1.6 billion, generated by farms covering 9.5 million acres.
San Diego also has more small family farms and more part-time farmers than any other county in the nation, with our county’s crops ranked 12th in total value among the nation’s 3,000 counties. We are the number one producer of avocados and nursery crops. We rank third in honey production, fifth in lemons, ninth in strawberries and tenth in egg-laying hens.
In order to make sure California agriculture continues to thrive, I have authored several bills to provide reliable and affordable supplies of water, including bills for construction and expansion of water storage facilities and the use of treated wastewater for irrigation. As an elected representative from one of this state’s leading farm regions, I will continue to do all I can to support this important sector of our economy.
Minority Floor Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.